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Peak Facebook: Are demographics going to kill the world’s largest social network?

Facebook is getting older. Now in its 13th year, everything about the site is maturing including its user base. A 2017 study by ISL revealed that 66% of Facebook users were over the age of 35 and there was a 40% decrease in 13-17 year olds using the site, indicating a clear shift in the world of social media.

Some sources suggest that younger audiences are leaving the platform due to the older presence ‘policing’ their interactions. Other sources indicate that Facebook just isn’t ‘cool’ anymore.

With the Facebook’s core users aged between 25 and 49, younger demographics simply don’t want to spend time on a social networking platform populated by their parents. In the eyes of youths, nothing is quite as uncool as something their parents deem cool.

But what does this mean for businesses?

While these statistics at face value may appear grim for organisations with a heavy Facebook presence, it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Despite the declining number of younger users, Facebook still reigns supreme with an incredible 2.01 billion users worldwide as of June 2017.

In the last 12 months there has been a 20% increase in users aged 35-54 and a 46.4% increase in users aged over 55. This can be seen as a major positive to many organisations, as the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers represent a vastly larger spending power than their younger counterparts.

It should also be noted that despite the decline in use, younger generations haven’t altogether given up on Facebook as a platform, with significant use still present amongst this demographic.

Go where the kids go

Organisations attempting to directly target the 13-24 year old market wouldn’t necessarily be wasting their time on Facebook. However, it may be beneficial to explore alternative platforms, plan for the future use of popular social media platforms and, to put it plainly, go where the kids go. The reality is that young people are simply more scattered with their social media habits, and your strategy should reflect this.

A few platforms that have picked up more interest in 2017 are Instagram and Snapchat, both which have a majority user base of under 30s. Instagram and Snapchat are by far the fastest growing with 700 million and 173 million users respectively, and are the obvious go-to platforms to access Millennials.

Constant disruption

In the modern world of ever-changing digital technology, nothing stays the same for long. New platforms emerge and disappear every day as people’s preferences shape, and are shaped by, the shifting social media landscape.

Organisations need to keep on top of changes as they happen, particularly on social media platforms. While the younger generations are adopting new social networking platforms, Facebook is still the go-to platform for all age-groups and is still worth the investment. It’s definitely a changing social media scene, but Facebook isn’t dead… yet.